After playing the Christmas season it will reach London, according to the show’s website, in February 2004. The venue has not yet been formally announced, but the Mail reports that it will reach the Victoria Palace, where Tonight’s the Night is soon to depart.
No casting has been announced yet, though a nationwide UK search has been ongoing to find the youthful cast members, especially the title role. The producers even set up a Billy Elliot Academy in Leeds in January 2004 to give young performers some training and ready them for possible involvement with the show.
The movie “Billy Elliot,” about a young boy who dreams of becoming a ballet star, was directed by ex-Royal Court boss Stephen Daldry, who will also direct the stage show. He was Oscar-nominated for his work on the film, as was Julie Walters as Billy’s ballet teacher and Lee Hall for his screenplay. Hall and the movie’s choreographer Peter Darling are reuniting with Daldry for the show. Walters is not expected to feature in the theatre version, and young star Jamie Bell is known to have declined.
According to a Daldry interview with the BBC, the idea to make a stage musical from the movie originated from Elton John. “He came to see one of the early showings of the film,” Daldry told the broadcaster, “and his response was so strong, he really came up with the suggestion, ‘Is there anything we can do on stage?’” John is writing the songs. This will be his first London musical since The Lion King opened in 1999, since his last Disney show Aida has yet to reach the UK.
For more information, visit the musical's official website at www.billyelliotthemusical.com.